Amazon plans to double down on video content.
After the company beat Wall Street’s expectations for its second quarter earnings report, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky told reporters that Amazon will double its video content spend during the second half of 2016 compared to the same period last year.
Olsavsky also said that Amazon will “nearly triple our offering to customers of new Amazon original TV shows and movies” compared to last year.
Amazon’s streaming video arm continues to expand as the company battles Netflix and Hulu. A recent report found that Amazon Video, available in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Austria and Japan, now accounts for 4.3 percent of downstream traffic during peak evening viewing hours, trailing only Netflix and YouTube. Netflix still dominates video streaming with 35.2 percent of downstream traffic in North America, the report noted, but it’s clear that Amazon is taking some market share.
Netflix also saw its stock plummet earlier this month after reporting its weakest subscriber growth in two years.
Amazon’s rise is due in part to its investment in original content. Award-winning shows like “Transparent,” “Man in the High Castle,” and “Mozart in the Jungle” have helped Amazon Video quickly become a competitor in the video streaming space. The model was pioneered by Netflix, with original series like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.”
Amazon is also spending big for other content rights — for example, it reportedly paying $250 million to acquire the popular Top Gear show for its Prime audience. It’s getting in the film industry, too, teaming up with people like Woody Allen for feature films.
In addition, Amazon is growing its streaming business abroad. It just launched its Prime program in India, perhaps the company’s most important overseas opportunity, and said streaming video is coming soon. The company plans to reportedly spend around $300 million to fund original movies and series in India.
Originally, Amazon’s original content was only available to annual Prime subscribers who pay $99 per year. In April, Amazon began offering a monthly $8.99 Prime subscription so members could access its video streaming service. The move was a direct swing at Netflix and its popular monthly subscription plan.
This past May, Amazon announced a new service that competes with YouTube called Amazon Video Direct, a self-service option that lets content creators upload video for distribution through Amazon Prime Video or other methods, including ad-supported video, rental, purchase or subscription.